Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Banker's killers make appeal bid

Tom and Ben Cowles
Tom and Ben Cowles were jailed at Norwich Crown Court in June

Two brothers who admitted the manslaughter of a senior banking executive in Norfolk have appealed against their jail terms.

Ben Cowles, 21, and Tom Cowles, 22, beat Frank McGarahan, 45, during a night out in Norwich in September 2008.

Mr McGarahan, of Hertfordshire, never regained consciousness.

Court of Appeal judges, who reserved judgement to a later date, heard the sentences of seven and seven and a half years were "manifestly excessive".

The brothers, both of Beaumont Road, Costessey, near Norwich, had got into a fight with a Lithuanian man, Robertas Sinkevicius, at the entrance to Dove Street in the early hours of 28 September.

Punched repeatedly

Father-of-two Mr McGarahan, of Much Hadham, near Bishop's Stortford, was in the city for a family christening.

He and his party appeared and the brothers were branded "cowards" for their part in the previous altercation.

Frank McGarahan
Frank McGarahan worked at Barclays Wealth

A new fight then started, during which Mr McGarahan was put in a headlock and punched repeatedly. He died in hospital.

Ben Cowles was jailed for seven-and-a-half years and his brother for seven years after they admitted manslaughter.

Following the brothers' sentencing in June, Mr McGarahan's family described the prison terms as "disgraceful" and called for a review of the law to allow higher sentences.

Lawyers for the brothers told the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with four senior colleagues, that they had not been treated leniently and had received sentences which were "much too long".

'More mitigating factors'

Michael Hubbard QC said: "It was not a sustained attack, it was not premeditated, the application of force was on the moderate side.

"There were no facial injuries found, no fractures.

"I have to accept that there was a degree of punching, coincidental with the headlock, but thereafter, nothing."

He added: "These are two good lads from good homes, and they have done splendidly well.

"They are the sort of lads who spend their quiet hours fishing, at home with mum and dad, with a job and have, as much as they can, redeemed themselves while in custody.

"We suggest there were infinitely more mitigating factors than there were aggravating factors."

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